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10 Reasons to Buy European Closets

Updated: Mar 17

Find out why would anyone want to buy a custom closet system from Europe when they can go to their local closet company and get it faster and supposedly, less expensive.

Beautiful Italian Closet Island
Glass Bottom Drawer under Glass Topped Island with Jewelry Organization

How the Local Companies Do It

Local closet companies source regionally supplied hardware from China and low-cost panels from a variety of sources. And with a sharp saw blade and a half-decent edge bander they get to work. While it might not have all the bells and whistles of a premium European system, they are decent and can be used to tame an unruly closet. But once installed, they are not a source of pride. They will not wow your friends. Sure they are way better than you had, but is it really worth the money? Does it increase the value of your home?

Different Kind of Buyer

There are people that enjoy learning about design. They don't have an It's Good Enough Mindset - especially for key areas of their home. They see the value in quality and authenticity. They don't want knockoff sunglasses and watches, they want real Gucci or a value-priced European product. They are not going to buy it all the time, but when they do, they know that quality is going to cost them a little more. But the reality is that they work hard, and they are worth it.

While talking to designers, architects, and sophisticated buyers, we have discovered numerous reasons why people install European Closets in their homes.

Here are our favorite 10 Reasons To Buy European Closets:

1) Authenticity - A lot of local cabinet and closet companies use terms like European inspired, or European style. However, most people do not want a locally made kit car that looks like a Ferrari - they want the real deal - an Italian-made car that is made in Italy by highly skilled craftspeople with a passion for design excellence.

2) Unique Material Thickness - In the US market, most custom closet systems use 3/4" thick side panels and shelving. If they use a thicker material, it is most commonly two 3/4" panels glued together. While they appear nicer, glued panels can raise the cost considerably and can warp over time. Whereas, premium European companies use thicker boards (25 and 28mm) material that are single boards to reduce warping and provide maximum support. Even if your local company wanted to copy the Europeans and use thicker boards, they most likely couldn't because nobody imports that material to the US.

Modern Valet Rod under a Thick SHelf
Thick Shelf with Laser Sealed Edges and a Modern Valet Rod

3) Material Availability - Most closets made in the US have laminate or wood veneer cases and components. But in Italy, you can have that and more. For example, you can have leather drawer fronts and marbleized glass back panels. You can even have the sides, fronts, and backs be tempered glass suspended in LED lit metal frames. Italians will even have options such as glass bottomed drawers.

Organized and Fitted Closet Drawer
Glass Shelf over Leather Watch and Jewelry Trays

4) Tooling - When it comes to actually cutting the boards and applying trim, most local builders have limited tooling. They use equipment that costs 10s of thousands. While they can do a decent job, you will notice little chips on the edges. And this issue can worsen if they don't maintain their equipment. Whereas Europeans in their never-ending quest for quality have invested hundreds of thousands to millions in the latest machinery. When they add a piece of trim, it isn't hot glued on a chipped board... it is laser-sealed onto a perfectly machined board. While this process costs more, it assures you don't see glue lines and there is not the risk of glue not being applied correctly and pieces delaminating.

5) Door Hardware - Most local builders use simple, low-cost, soft-close hinges for their doors. While they do work fine, they are definitely not too impressive. In Europe, standard hinges are commonly upgraded to more advanced hardware that supports sliding doors, pocket doors, and hidden hinging. And when you have these voice-activated, you are shooting up the "Wow Scale".

Full Swing Glass Door
Unique Glass Door with Unbinding Hinge

6) Modular Design - Carrying a two foot closet section up some stairs is not too hard. But try carrying four foot sections, a couple feet deep and 9 feet tall.... it is nearly impossible. However, Italian closets can be shipped in components to be assembled on site. This allows large scale builds without risking damage to walls or banged up components.

7) Fittings and Hanging Systems - Most local companies use pretty crude shims and hardware from a local store. But Europeans have developed mounting systems that are infinitely adjustable to level away from uneven floors and walls.

8) Integrated Lighting - Local systems might get fancy had have closet rod lights or LEDs hanging from the top shelf. But in custom European closets, nearly everything can be lit - from translucent backlit back panels to individually lit glass shelves.

9) Accessories - Custom European Closets can have a huge variety of accessories including: watch inserts, jewelry inserts, tie holders, valet rods, scarf holders, shoe/dress/pants racks, hat boxes, custom hangers, mirrors, and security locks.

Thick Shelf and outfitted accessory drawer
Thick Shelf and Leather front drawer with Jewelry Inserts

10) Price - If you can find a local shop to add in some of the features found in European systems such as lighting and glass shelves, you will find the price jumps up very fast. And most likely, you'll be able to buy your entry-level Ferrari for less than the nicely outfitted kit car.

11) While I stated 10, I thought I'd throw in an extra one. If you have some vacation time and an itch to visit Europe, going and seeing where your closet is produced is a great experience. So whether you're looking for a closet, or shopping for clothes to put in it... traveling to pick out nice things can definitely be an experience of a lifetime. And when you come home, you won't be saying "Wow", you will be saying "CHE BELLO".

Italian morning pastries
Buttery Chocolate Croissants

Hotel Tasty Breakfast Treats
Chocolate Breakfast Torte

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